From the UK to Europe and beyond, 2019’s fes­ti­val sea­son looks set to be the busiest ever. Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know

Metal Hammer (UK) - - The Hot Topic - WORDS: MER­LIN ALDER­SLADE

In years gone by, ‘fes­ti­val sea­son’ for UK met­al­heads sim­ply meant ev­ery­one con­verg­ing onto Cas­tle Don­ing­ton once a year for Mon­sters Of Rock. Fast for­ward to the late 90s and early 00s, and with Don­ing­ton tak­ing an ex­tended hia­tus from the fes­ti­val scene, it was Read­ing (and later Leeds) that metal fans would flock to ev­ery sum­mer to catch glimpses of their favourite bands in a muddy field.

Not any more. Since Down­load emerged 16 years ago, fans of heavy mu­sic have be­come in­creas­ingly spoiled for op­tions when it comes to where to spend their money each sum­mer. This year, there will be more fes­ti­vals than ever boast­ing line-ups full of kick­ass metal bands – and that’s be­fore you even look beyond our own shores.

still the daddy of Bri­tish rock fes­ti­vals, Down­load has come out swing­ing in the face of in­creased com­pe­ti­tion this year, show­cas­ing three colos­sal head­lin­ers in Def Lep­pard (per­form­ing classic al­bum Hys­te­ria in full), Slipknot and a re­turn­ing Tool. There’s also the small mat­ter of Slayer’s fi­nal ever UK show, plus more an­nounced heavy­weights in Smash­ing Pump­kins, Slash, Whites­nake, Triv­ium, Lamb Of God and Rob Zom­bie. Look fur­ther down the bill and you al­ready have a ton of metal main­stays on the line-up – Dream The­ater, Car­cass, Opeth, Skin­dred, The Amity Af­flic­tion and Whitechape­l to name just a few of them. Oh, and just to spice things up, Die Ant­wo­ord are play­ing too. Ridicu­lous. And po­ten­tially bril­liant.

Blood­stock, too, have put to­gether an im­pres­sive bill, head­lined by Sa­ba­ton and the mighty Scor­pi­ons (third head­liner TBA at time of go­ing to print), plus the likes of Cra­dle Of Filth, An­thrax, Code Or­ange, Tesser­act, Chil­dren Of Bodom and Dimmu Bor­gir, prov­ing that the UK metal Mecca is not mess­ing around.

If you’re look­ing for op­tions beyond most met­al­heads’ two first choices, how about UK Tech-Fest? Tak­ing place ev­ery mid-sum­mer, it’s be­come the de facto home for metal’s more pro­gres­sive and genre-ex­pand­ing bands – though its 2019 line-up is yet to be an­nounced. There’s also Ar­cTanGent in Au­gust, which has flexed its metal cre­den­tials by book­ing Meshug­gah for the Swedes’ only UK show of 2019. Bul­let For My Valen­tine at Slam Dunk is one of this sum­mer’s sur­prise book­ings. While there’s some de­cent punk and hard­core at the May Bank Hol­i­day, multi-lo­ca­tion fest – Gal­lows, Knocked Loose and Turn­stile in­cluded – you’ll have to wade through a lot of dredge for it. Read­ing and

Leeds have moved fur­ther and fur­ther away from heavy bands in re­cent years, but they do nor­mally have a pretty de­cent line-up on The Pit stage, so if you fancy catch­ing some of the good stuff in be­tween Post Malone and The 1975 this Au­gust, keep ’em peeled. And then there’s

All Points East in May – a rel­a­tive new­comer, but giv­ing Bring Me The Hori­zon their first ever out­door UK fes­ti­val head­line slot. The sup­port­ing cast is a di­verse bag so far – hip hop heavy­weights Run The Jew­els, pop star­lets Yon­aka and trap-metal leader

there are more fes­ti­vals than ever this year!

Scar­lxrd amongst the names – but it does sug­gest that there could be yet an­other fes­ti­val muscling in on big rock acts ev­ery sum­mer.

MANY MET­AL­HEADS HAVE found that look­ing a bit fur­ther afield for their fes­ti­val kicks is a re­al­is­tic and re­fresh­ing op­tion in the mod­ern cli­mate. Ger­many’s Wacken and France’s Hellfest tend to sell out well in ad­vance – no sur­prise given their almighty line-ups – but there’s plenty more to be found around Europe this year. June’s Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park re­mains a crown jewel in main­land Europe’s fes­ti­val scene, this year boast­ing a line-up in­clud­ing Slipknot, Slayer, Tool, Bring Me The Hori­zon and Tena­cious D. You could give Roskilde a go – es­sen­tially a Dan­ish Glas­ton­bury with added metal, this year alone see­ing Power Trip, Con­verge and Tes­ta­ment rub­bing shoul­ders with The Cure, Chris­tine And The Queens and Brock­hamp­ton. If you fancy a trip to Aus­tria, you could do worse than hit­ting up Nova Rock in June, where you can catch Slayer, Slipknot, Smash­ing Pump­kins, Sa­ba­ton and In Flames among oth­ers. Bel­gium’s Rock Wer­chter is an­other mixed line-up – where else will you see Tool and BMTH along­side Muse, Pink and Kylie?! Want a proper hol­i­day feel to your fest? Try Slove­nia’s Me­tal­days, com­plete with a lush lake and beach plus a killer line-up in­clud­ing Ar­chi­tects, Dimmu Bor­gir, Ak­er­cocke, Kvel­er­tak, While She Sleeps and more.

Of course, if you’re feel­ing re­ally ad­ven­tur­ous, you could head even fur­ther afield. North Amer­ica’s fes­ti­val scene has ex­ploded in the last few years, and al­ready the likes of Epi­cen­ter (North Carolina), Sonic Tem­ple Art (Ohio), Wel­come To Rockville (Jack­sonville) and Chicago Open Air (Chicago… duh) have an­nounced ab­so­lutely stacked line-ups. And those are all in May alone.

Put short: it’s go­ing to be a hell of a sum­mer. Ours is a pint. Keep an eye on our Live eviL pages ev­ery month to see the Lat­est ad­di­tions to fes­ti­vaL biLLs

You have no excuse not to catch Slipknot some­where this sum­mer. Un­less you don’t like them.

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